After 14-year hiatus,
Shehbaz meets Choudhry
brothers in Lahore

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LAHORE: Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly and PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif met PML-Q’s Chaudhry brothers — allies of the PTI-led government — at their residence after 14 years as the Opposition seeks to mount pressure on the government.

LAHORE: Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif talking to Ch. Shujaat Hussain and Ch. Pervez Elahi in Lahore on Sunday.

The development comes after Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari met the Chaudhry brothers — Chaudhry Shujat Hussain and Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi — at their residence, as the Opposition seeks to oust the incumbent government.

During today’s meeting, PML-N leaders Khawaja Saad Rafique, Ayaz Sadiq, Attaullah Tarar, Shabbir Usmani were in attendance, while Chaudhry Salik Hussain and Chaudhry Shafay Hussain represented the PML-Q.

In a statement on the micro-blogging platform Twitter, PML-N said both sides discussed the current political situation in the country in detail and also shed light on other issues of mutual interest.

Sources said the meeting lasted an hour and a half, where the Opposition leader sought PML-Q, who is a crucial ally of the government in Punjab and Centre, to support them in their quest of overthrowing Prime Minister Imran Khan’s regime.

LAHORE: Punjab Assembly Speaker and Acting Punjab Governor Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi (left), Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly and PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif (centre), and former prime minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain at the Chaudhry brothers residence in Lahore, on Sunday (February 13, 2022)

“Back us in our bid to bring a no-confidence motion against [PM Imran Khan]. The Opposition has a unanimous stance that the government should go home,” sources quoted Shabaz as saying.

In response, according to sources, the Chaudhry brothers told Shahbaz that they would “consult their party leaders on the current political situation” as the coming days “are important”. “We will adopt a strategy after consultations,” the brothers said.

Meanwhile, during the meeting, Shahbaz — on behalf of PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif — also inquired about Chaudhry Shujat Hussain’s health and prayed for his recovery.

Imran Khan’s reaction

Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leaders are not afraid of anything emphasizing that he has full confidence in the Chaudhry brothers. He was addressing an international symposium regarding hydropower development here on Monday.

He said the PTI people were steadfast and they were not worried about anything. Those who are worried, they are holding meetings with Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and inquiring after his health,he added.

PM Khan said that he had no doubt regarding Chaudhary brothers and the PTI was not concerned at all. On electricity prices, he said when the price of electricity raised, prices of other things also hiked.

The same is the case with petrol, he added. He said if we had built dams, then electricity would not have become so expensive. He claimed that his PTI never thought about the election, it had done planning for the future.

Prime Minister said that the 10 dams being constructed by the government will double the country’s storage capacity to irrigate more land and help reduce the impact of climate change.

The Prime Minister regretted the indifference of previous governments to the construction of big water reservoirs. He pointed out that China constructed five thousand dams whilst Pakistan only built two major dams back in the 60s.  He said had the hydropower potential of the country was tapped, the country today would not have been faced with the issue of rising prices of electricity as well as inflation.

The Prime Minister expressed satisfaction that his government whilst pursuing the forward looking approach decided to construct ten dams in a decade time. He said given the increase in our population, we have to bring more land under cultivation in areas such as DI Khan, Balochistan and Thar, which can be done with the availability of water. He said Pakistan can become a wheat and cotton exporting country by irrigating more land.

As regards the proposal of Minister for Water Resources Moonis Elahi for the construction of the Kalabagh Dam, the Prime Minister acknowledged that Pakistan requires more water storage capacity and the very site of Kalabagh is very appropriate for the dam.

He, however, said the people in Sindh have their reservations on this project and without convincing them, the work on this project cannot be started. He said being the federation, we have to take along all the provinces.